A wave of protests against racial inequality has swept through the United Kingdom in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African American man, in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis on 25 May.
Chairman of the Police Federation John Apter has urged UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to take action to protect officers and the public amid the wave of Black Lives Matter protests during the pandemic.
“In normal times, the principle of having the right to peaceful protests is an important one. However, we are tackling a deadly virus,” John Apter said as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“I urge the Home Secretary to be unequivocal in her terms that while we’re under the threat of this virus, any large gathering or protest must be banned,” he added.
In turn, Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh called for the temporarily closing of sites preferred by protesters.
An uproar was sparked across big cities in the United Kingdom on the heels of riots that flooded the United States over the past couple weeks in response to an African American man, George Floyd, being killed by a white police officer. The dismantlement of statues of historic figures who, according to protesters, represent the country’s “colonial and racist” legacy has become a signature feature of UK protests.
Health authorities in the UK have so far reported 295,889 COVID-19 cases, including over 41,000 fatalities.